Pray Persistently for Peace

By Chris Sparks

One of the hardest parts of the Christian life is simple persistence.

After all, we’re human, living in a fallen world. We exist in time, which at times can seem nearly unbearable.

Sick in bed without entertainment, pleasure, or visitors? Each second lasts a miserable eternity.

Harried by too much to do in far too little time? Each hour passes like a second.

And of course, time ages us; time presses upon us, flowing remorselessly, inexorably on, drawing us into the future at a constant rate, whether we’re ready or not. The mercy of time’s passing is that evils pass; the burden of time is that good things pass, as well.

And so part of the Christian call is to redeem time, to sanctify it, to welcome God and His grace into our lives so that eternity and time are wed, and eternal life marries temporal life, and the world is restored again, renewed again, elevated to supernatural life.

We do that, the Benedictines tell us, by ora et labora, through work and prayer, through doing everything for love of God and neighbor. We sanctify our lives by uniting them in prayer to the life of Christ, by bringing all our sacrifices and blessings in prayer to unite them with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. As we receive gifts, we are to respond with thanks and praise. We are to consecrate them all to God, allowing Him to enter into everything in our lives, every moment, every circumstance. If we offer every breath to Him, then every breath takes on a supernatural character. If we give God every moment, then every moment becomes a sacramental means of grace for ourselves and the world.

We see this happen in the lives of the saints, in their superhuman charity. Indeed, we on our own strength can’t possibly live the sort of lives that the saints did. Why? Because the saints opened their lives up to God’s grace through prayer, through the Sacraments, through love, and God took the time they gave Him, blessed, broke, and gave it back to His disciples. He takes up our gifts of time, talent, treasure — indeed, of our very selves — just as He takes the bread and wine the Church brings Him for Eucharist, and His grace transforms what is given to Him, making it impossibly life-giving, making it impossibly rich and fruitful.

One of the best ways to take our time, our hearts, our lives, and give them to Him is through devotions. And as we all know, one of the most powerful sets of devotions is those practices given us through St. Faustina. In his last book, Memory and Identity, Pope St. John Paul II said, “[T]he limit imposed upon evil, of which man is both perpetrator and victim, is ultimately the Divine Mercy.”

Savor that insight. The devil is overcome, not by the wrath of God or by the sheer unmitigated force that God can bring to bear, but by Divine Mercy. As Fr. Chris Alar, MIC, says, the devil has only two weapons: sin and death. Sin is overcome by Baptism (see Acts 22:16) and Confession (see Jn 20:23). Death is overcome by the Eucharist, by the eternal life of God in which we participate by eating and drinking of His Body and Blood (see Jn 6:53-57).

So we can overcome the evil in the world today through a steadfast, persistent return to the Divine Mercy, to the Sacraments and to the Divine Mercy message and devotion. Jesus promises us, “Tell aching mankind to snuggle close to My merciful Heart, and I will fill it with peace” (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 1074). As Venerable Fulton Sheen taught in his great book Peace of Soul, we will only have true peace in the world if we first have peace in our souls. And through Divine Mercy, Jesus shows us the way:

Feast

Divine Mercy Sunday offers us peace through complete forgiveness of all sin and punishment. The limit on evil is applied very literally in Divine Mercy Sunday — all sinners may be restored to the state of grace and friendship with God if only they fulfill the sacramental conditions for celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday. This extraordinary, annual day of jubilee is a tremendous path to healing and reconciliation in a divided world.

I want to grant a complete pardon to the souls that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion on the Feast of My mercy (Diary, 1109).

Whoever approaches the Fountain of Life on this day will be granted complete forgiveness of sins and punishment (Diary, 300).

The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion will obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment (Diary, 699).

Image

In the Divine Mercy Image, Jesus offers us a path to peace of soul and to victory over our enemies. Through veneration of the Image, we may triumph over evil and help bring peace into the world.

Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory (Diary, 47, 48).

I am offering people a vessel with which they are to keep coming for graces to the fountain of mercy. That vessel is this image with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You (Diary, 327)

Novena

In the Divine Mercy Novena — nine days of praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy — Jesus offers us the grace we need to help bring peace into our own lives, our families, our communities, and our troubled world.

By this Novena, [of Chaplets] I will grant every possible grace to souls. (Diary, 796)

And in the novena He gave St. Faustina to pray, especially during the nine days from Good Friday to Divine Mercy Sunday, we gain insight into God’s own prayer intentions.

I desire that during these nine days you bring souls to the fountain of My mercy, that they may draw therefrom strength and refreshment and whatever grace they have need of in the hardships of life, and especially at the hour of death (Diary, 1209).

Chaplet

In the Divine Mercy Chaplet, we are given a path to peace of soul through transformative grace, softening the hardened heart, bringing the sinner’s soul back to life, and all the power needed to halt evil in its tracks.

Whoever will recite it will receive great mercy at the hour of death (Diary, 687).

My daughter, encourage souls to say the chaplet which I have given to you. It pleases Me to grant everything they ask of Me by saying the chaplet. When hardened sinners say it, I will fill their souls with peace, and the hour of their death will be a happy one (Diary, 1541).

When they say this Chaplet in the presence of the dying, I will stand between My Father and the dying person, not as the just Judge but as the Merciful Savior (Diary, 1541).

Priests will recommend it to sinners as their last hope of salvation. Even if there were a sinner most hardened, if he were to recite this Chaplet only once, he would receive grace from My infinite mercy (Diary, 687).

I desire to grant unimaginable graces to those souls who trust in My mercy (Diary, 687).

Through the Chaplet you will obtain everything, if what you ask for is compatible with My will (Diary, 1731).

Hour

In the 3 p.m. Hour of Great Mercy, we are offered all the grace that poured out on Good Friday at 3 p.m., when Christ’s Heart was pierced and Blood and Water poured out onto the world.

At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (Diary, 1320).

As often as you hear the clock strike the third hour, immerse yourself completely in My mercy, adoring and glorifying it; invoke its omnipotence for the whole world, and particularly for poor sinners; for at that moment mercy was opened wide for every soul. In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world — mercy triumphed over justice. (Diary, 1572)

My daughter, try your best to make the Stations of the Cross in this hour, provided that your duties permit it; and if you are not able to make the Stations of the Cross, then at least step into the chapel for a moment and adore, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, My Heart, which is full of mercy; and should you be unable to step into the chapel, immerse yourself in prayer there where you happen to be, if only for a very brief instant. (Diary, 1572)

So let’s put a limit on evil. Let’s welcome God’s Divine Mercy into the world by faithfully living a Catholic, sacramental life. Let’s take up the Divine Mercy message and devotion, living merciful lives through prayer, merciful words of truth, love, and blessing, and works of mercy. Let’s persist in our devotion to Divine Mercy, sanctifying every moment of our lives by living trust in Jesus. Let’s use the devotions that God has given us, and let Divine Mercy triumph throughout the world.

This Lent and always, let us love and serve the Divine Mercy Incarnate. Jesus, I trust in You.

Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.

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